Documenting problems: The Critical Incidence log.

We all know that in business is vital that everything is documented – “If it isn’t written, it isn’t legitimate!” However, when we want to show our bosses or team members that problems exist, the tendency is for us to tell them and hope that they will do something. The Critical Incidence Log is a way for us to document a problem over a period of time in such a way that a clear, concise picture is formed of what has and is happening and may be used as evidence, if necessary.

Let’s look at two typical situations where the Critical Incidence Log is useful.

Situation 1:
You have been working in the same organization for a number of years and know that you are a good, conscientious and loyal worker. However, you have seen other employees promoted internally while you have remained in the same position. Your annual performance appraisal has never been bad or negative and, as far as you know, there are no complaints about your work. So, what can you do?

One option is to use the Critical Incidence technique to document your work load, productivity, etc.
How?
– Get a one-page-per-day diary.

– Every time you are given a new task / project write down, on the appropriate page, the time, details of the task, the due date and any other factors that are important.

– Keep updating the diary with progress reports, blocks to progress & attempts to resolve them, meetings attended, decisions taken, If necessary, indicate the names of witnesses and other factors that effect the project – Write down both good news and bad news.

– In this context, when you a minimum of three month’s data, arrange a meeting with your boss, show them the data you have collected and ask for comments.

Situation 2:
Use the Critical Incidence Log as a resource when you have personally seen and heard one of your team behaving in an undesirable manner with other people which is affecting morale, productivity and overall results. You must NOT rely on second- or third-hand information from other people who might have hidden agendas. Once you have evidence of a “Trend” toward this type of inappropriate behaviour, take action!

Obviously, there are many other contexts where this resource is an invaluable tool to help resolve a wide range of problematic situations.

It is vital that the Log is completed on a regular basis (daily if possible) and the writer’s continuity in completing the log indicates a commitment to resolving the problem.

© Brownlee & Associates, Madrid, Spain, 2010 & 2016. All rights reserved. This material may not be copied, translated or reproduced in any form without the prior written consent of Brownlee & Associates.

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About ianbrownlee

Ian Brownlee, the founder of Brownlee & Associates has been actively involved in the field of interpersonal & transcultural communication since 1977. He has worked in universities and companies in the following countries: Laos, Thailand, Hong Kong, Korea, Japan, Singapore, Saudi Arabia, France, Italy, England, The United States of America & Spain, as a teacher, university lecturer, trainer, researcher & consultant. In addition, his experience in living in these countries, and studying the language & communication and interaction styles of each has aided him in reaching a real understanding of intercultural and transcultural differences and how to resolve them. Ian Brownlee has various masters degrees from British Universities: One in Linguistics & Teaching English Overseas from Manchester University, one in Training & Development with a specialization in the area of Communication and Adult learning awarded by the University of Sheffield. He has also gained professional qualifications in Psychotherapy & Hypnotherapy from various professional organizations. During his university career he has also studied elements of Sociology, Organizational psychology, Educational psychology, Psycholinguistics and Kinesics. He is a licensed Practitioner, Master Practitioner, and Master Trainer in NLP. as well as being a trainer in Ericksonian Hypnosis. He is a member of a wide range of professional organizations involved in Training, Applied Psychology, Hypnotherapy & Ericksonian Hypnosis, Psychotherapy, Interpersonal Communication & Cross-cultural Communication. He is also recognized by the Program on Negotiation, Harvard University, as a Negotiation Skills Trainer & Mediator and has been a collaborator on various projects with the program, and as such is in great demand as a negotiation consultant for some of the largest multinationals operating worldwide. His wide experience gained in multinational organizations in positions such as Director of Training, Communications Consultant and Negotiator / Mediator has helped many people to learn and apply new methods of negotiating skills and advanced communication techniques both in their private and professional lives. He has published various articles & books related to the field of interpersonal communication and he is the author of all the courses taught by Brownlee & Associates. He has lived and worked in Spain since 1985, initially as a trainer / Special Assistant in a multinational pharmaceutical company and then as the Training Manager for a multinational company involved in Clinical Analysis & Nuclear Medicine. Brownlee & Associates was formed in 1991 and currently has a small, highly-trained staff. While based in Madrid, courses are given world-wide either in English or Spanish. Brownlee & Associates currently work with leading international companies in the areas of pharmaceuticals , Information systems, luxury products, food & beverages, etc.
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